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Well, call the corners! After reading Mark Jenkins’ “in-depth” and formulaic five-paragraph review of Bamboozled, I was stunned that he had even managed to squeeze a screening of this 40 Acres and Mule film into his bustling schedule of reviewing and writing books about Punk Rawk music. (Now, that’s entertainment!) What is it in the European-American’s psyche that drives Caucasians like Jenkins to take offense at anything that vaguely challenges his goat-cheese-and-crackers aesthetic? Could it be that the founders and participants of the hallowed “Golden Era of Hollywood” were nothing more than a bunch of ignorant, cork-smeared, backwater racists?
Even after he grudgingly admits that the television show depicted in the film “is an exorcism rather than an entertainment concept,” Jenkins still insists that the concept is “overmagnified.” I say: So were Schindler’s List and Amistad. Sometimes, one needs a little extra light in order to see the dark wretched thing. The “scattershot assemblage of satire, melodrama, romance, found objects, and offhand anti-Semitic stereotypes”that is, the African-American experience, for those readers who can do without Jenkins’ quick, soundbite definitions of black historyis as real to black folks today as a P.G. County racial profile. Images based on your melanin count matter, man.
Jenkins’ writing reminds me of my 84-year-old Bahamian grandmother, who still whips her ’88 Cadillac Seville and who will even take off her diamonds to enjoy a fresh piece of yellowmeat watermelon when she can get her hands on it. She says, “I don’t hate white folksI just love me some black people.” It is with this mantra, Mr. Jenkins, that my friends and I are encouraging all Americanshaters includedto go out and sit through this burnt-cork-smeared reflection of ourselves. To not do so would be as nutty as the Washington City Paper’s paying hard-earned Benjamins to grown-ass men and women to incessantly whine (week after week) about the Ramones, rat entrails, and dog shit.